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anteca: America’s most patriotic city? It is more than just wishful thinking. Ten times a year hundreds of volunteers get up before dawn’s early light to place 2,400 American flags along Manteca’s main streets to honor our fallen, our veterans, our military, our civil rights leader, and our founding principles. It is all a part of the Manteca Chamber of Commerce’s marquee community service endeavor Flag over Manteca. Months after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, then Manteca Chamber of Commerce executive director Joe Pellegrino proposed to the chamber board that the business group should undertake a flag project to reflect the community’s patriotic sentiments that were sharpened by the terrorist attacks The idea spread like wildfire. Within two months the community donated $70,000. Mountain Valley Express donated a truck trailer to the flags, Perez & Sons Cabinets stepped up to make the flag poles, Luna Painting varnished them. Monogram Magic embroidered the flags. And then volunteers like Les Thomas stepped up to place the flags and retrieve them on days such as Presidents Day, Veterans Day, Armed Services Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Flag Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Patriots Day on Sept. 11. Thomas and others also volunteer on joyous occasions when

Flags line a Manteca street as part of the Manteca Chamber of Commerce’s Flags Over Manteca endeavor.

service men return home or on somber ones when the fallen come home. Thomas — like many others — have never missed a day of putting the flags out. Thomas has gone a step further. He stepped up and coordinated the distribution and collection of the 2,400 flags. The impact of the flags goes beyond Manteca. Residents from up and down the Northern San Joaquin Valley come to Manteca on the day the streets are graced with the nation’s colors. And there have been instances where the flags — when seen on a visit by people

passing through Manteca from the Bay Area — used them as the deciding factor of where to move for their retirement. Patriotism is more than just placing flags. It isn’t uncommon for those in uniform to have complete strangers — Manteca residents walk up to them and thank them for their service. The chamber appreciates donations to help pay to replace flags that get damaged as well as for additional groups to help volunteer placing and retrieving the flag. For more information call the chamber at 823-6121.

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Profile for Manteca Bulletin

Manteca Chamber 2018  

Manteca Chamber 2018